Virat Kohli has spoken out on why he is such a big admirer of Cristiano Ronaldo, in particular paying homage to the Portuguese great's unmatched work rate and longevity at the pinnacle of the sport.

Kohli was asked in an interview with Sky 's Dinesh Karthik what made him a fan of Ronaldo, and the Indian batsman was quick to explain his reasoning behind preferring Ronaldo to his perennial rival Lionel Messi.

Kohli said: "The thing I admire about him is he’s probably had people, I wouldn’t say disliking him, but disregarding a lot of what he has done over the years and just his mental strength to just keep going, just being the best in the world.

Virat Kohli said that he admired the discipline and professionalism of Cristiano Ronaldo

“I agree Messi probably has more natural ability but for this guy to do what he’s done day in, day out and to keep that type of discipline.

“To stay at the top of his game for 15 years for me that is the epitome of professionalism and discipline and what mindset can do to an individual.

“Every time he plays people know something special could happen and that’s what I admire about him.”

Ronaldo and Messi head into the 2021/22 season having enjoyed very different fortunes over the summer. Ronaldo was part of the Portugal side unable to reach the quarter finals of Euro 2020 in their defence of the crown, meanwhile Messi finally celebrated his first ever Copa America title with Argentina after they defeated Brazil 1-0 in the final.

Kohli was speaking to Sky before the start of a five test series between India and England. The first test starts on Wednesday at Trent Bridge. England's selection for the match is hard to predict in the wake of Ben Stokes' decision to pull out of the series to look after his mental health.